Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Suck It Up, Buttercup!

Reality is no fun sometimes. Right now the reality of America is truly less than fun. The economy is in the pits. Jobs are scare. Credit cards are maxed out. Retirement funds are shrinking. People are frustrated, scared, and depressed. Families are stressed out. And everybody is looking for a way out.

Like many other folks, I've had very little work in the past year. Still, when I examine the last few months, I haven't missed a single meal. My air conditioning is working. My car has gas in it, even at $2.50 per gallon. And while I've eliminated a lot of frivolous things from my monthly budget, so far I've been able to pay my bills, unlike people who have been hit even harder than I. Thank you, God.

So I don't know about you, but I'm tired of listening to America's whining. If we compare our current situation to the pitiful daily lives of people in third world countries, who haven't had a decent meal in weeks or months or years; if we realize that what we have given up during this money crunch is lightyears more than their skimpy basic livelihood; if we look at their gaunt faces and emaciated bodies compared to what we see in the mirror; perhaps then we will quit moaning about our problems that fade in the glaring light of their daily reality.

Suck it up, Buttercup! Focus on the donut and not the hole. Look at what you have left, not what you have lost. Count your blessings rather than the extras you have "sacrificed." Praise the God who has overwhelmed you with grace, love, and salvation. Show the world the difference in how Christians face problems versus people who don't have God in their lives. Yes, times are tough compared to previous years. Move ahead anyway! Do something risky anyway! Laugh anyway! Celebrate life anyway! Love life, even this new less-extravagant life, anyway! In reality, we are still the most blessed people on the planet. Let us remember that and be grateful.



Calling All Toddlers!
"Tiptoe, tiptoe into the stable. Tiptoe past the cow. Tiptoe past the donkey and the sheep. Tiptoe up to Mary and Joseph. Peek in the box; peek in and see. It's a baby sleeping on the hay. It's Baby Jesus. It's God's Little Boy."

If you have toddlers at your house, they will love the new Read and Share Toddler Bible by Gwen Ellis. Written specifically for tiny ears and eyes, this delightful new Bible storybook contains 40 of the Bible stories most often taught to toddlers in short, just-right-for-toddlers length. Combined with light, bright full-color illustrations by Steve Smallman, the pages will keep the toddlers' attention while you read the two or three simple lines of text.

Included with each story is an interactive learning suggestion you can use to help the toddler grasp the concept being taught. It's perfect for a fun time of parent-child sharing time. For instance, the one that goes with the story above says, "Parents: Put a baby doll in a box. Then let your little one act out tiptoeing to the manger to see the Baby Jesus."

To complete the product, a one-hour DVD of Bible stories and other features is included in the front of the book. Your little ones will love watching the DVD with you or by themselves.

Having authored more than 50 children's books myself, I highly recommend this excellent new product for toddlers. The language, art, activities, and DVD are all perfectly designed to entertain and teach your child about the God who adores them. Get it! (Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN 2009). 192 pp. Hardcover. $14.99.

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